Our staff is a dynamic group from all types of backgrounds and with impressive experience to draw from. We work individually and as a team to accomplish the objectives in the organization’s strategy.
PRESIDENT AND CEO
As CEO, Nelson ensures the Council meets the goals and objectives defined by the executive committee. He works closely with top organizations in Arkansas, including its largest employers, state leaders, educators, local government officials and chambers of commerce. The initiatives he’s most proud of are those that set up NWA for inclusion and growth: the Bella Vista bypass, the Health Care Transformation Division and EngageNWA. A native Arkansan, Nelson enjoys being able to balance an exciting career with the low-stress lifestyle of NWA.
CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
Mike’s main responsibilities are operations, finance, strategy and research. He also works closely with other team members on the Council’s economic development, talent development, attraction and retention programs. On the team since 2011, Mike enjoys the wooded hills of Washington County, where he lives with his wife and doggo.
Amy Kelley Bell
Amy shapes the overall look of the Council’s communications. In her current position, she aids the Council in designing reports, presentations and more to ensure the Council is presenting a modern and bold look. Amy has worked in communications and design for over a decade. Amy’s experience reaches beyond design. Raised in Arkansas politics, she studied in performance arts and has operated a small business. Before moving to Nashville, Tennessee, Amy and her husband, Chef Matt Bell, owned and operated South on Main, an award-winning fine restaurant and live music venue in Little Rock.
Jeannette Balleza Collins
Jeannette is focused on building an ecosystem that connects ideas, people and resources to ensure entrepreneurial vibrancy—put another way, to highlight and support the brilliant creative potential of NWA and its inhabitants (current and future). As the primary contact for the StartupNWA program, she works with region-wide stakeholders on goals including connectivity, capital access, talent growth, university-industry engagement, resource navigation and story sharing. Originally from Little Rock and currently in Fayetteville, she’s a true champion of the limitless opportunities of NWA.
Ryan’s focus is on supporting the health care system in our area and ensuring its future development to keep our population healthy and strong. His vision is one where all members of the NWA community have access to world-class health care. Before relocating to Bentonville, Ryan held leadership positions in strategy and finance for health care operations in academic, domestic, international and military settings.
ARTS & CULTURE
Allyson works with the local creative community and represents their interests both with the Council and the world at large through our Creative Arkansas Community Hub & Exchange (CACHE) program. An arts administrator, lawyer and former professional dancer with more than 10 years experience in the philanthropic sector, Allyson approaches her role with the perspective needed to support NWA’s network of artists, dreamers and thinkers of all walks.
Isabel serves as the director of communications and advocacy for the workforce housing center where she manages the center’s brand, external communications and community outreach efforts. Isabel is a seasoned marketing and communications professional with more than 12 years of experience working in public affairs, corporate communications and marketing. Originally from La Paz, Bolivia, Isabel earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and master’s in public administration from Florida International University and can speak and write in Spanish fluently.
Nate amplifies the good work being done to move NWA forward as our communications director and primary media contact. As an accomplished attorney, he’s a skilled communicator and storyteller. In his current position, he drives content and messaging for the Council. Born in Camden, Ark. and currently living in Rogers, he loves experiencing the local culture, from public art to food trucks.
Dan is working to help create a better recycling system and lay the groundwork for a circular economy in Northwest Arkansas. He’s also a master’s student in environmental geography at the University of Arkansas and a writer and photographer with a decade of experience throughout the central U.S. After some time out of state, Dan’s happy to be back in NWA and playing a part in making the region more environmentally friendly.
DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION
Margot heads up EngageNWA, a Council initiative that connects leaders in business, government and the community on matters that help create a more inclusive Northwest Arkansas. As a Fayetteville native, bringing people together in her hometown to build an even more welcoming community is close to her heart. Margot works with regional partners to support collaborative efforts, including sharing resources and best practices and highlighting local success stories related to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Ron works to promote Northwest Arkansas as the “right place” for business investment and new job creation. He oversees the Council’s relationship with site selectors and real estate professionals. He places a strong emphasis on strategically targeted lead generation, development and management. He lives in Bella Vista with his wife and three sons and loves to hunt, fish and just about any excuse to be in the outdoors.
Alicia is responsible for both social listening — staying on top of regional happenings, news and announcements via social media — and managing FindingNWA’s social media marketing and advertising campaigns. She’s built an engaged audience (over 80,000 strong) and is dedicated to inspiring and spreading the love of NWA, from its professional opportunities to its staggering natural beauty.
As executive director of the Northwest Arkansas Workforce Housing Center, Duke collaborates with community partners to address housing affordability in the region. Duke is passionate about collaborating with community partners to develop workable solutions the fit the unique needs of each city. The goal of the center is to promote well-designed housing options and mixed-income, walkable and transit-accessible neighborhoods for the region’s workers and their families.
Joe works with educators and businesses to develop and strengthen NWA’s career and technical education programs. He connects colleges, technical schools and high school training programs with potential employers and facilitates meeting their workforce needs. This makes him a valuable resource to both students and schools, supporting and promoting career opportunities. The Springdale native also advocates for regional training and partnership needs with area chambers of commerce.
Aron oversees the Council’s talent attraction and retention efforts, and the lifelong Fayetteville resident is in it for the long haul: His focus on the long-term growth and prosperity of the region keeps him committed and passionate about his role. Aron’s primary responsibilities include content management, designing, implementing, and analyzing FindingNWA’s digital engagement strategies, and working with regional recruiters.
INFRASTRUCTURE & POLICY
Rob is focused on continuing to improve NWA’s infrastructure—from water quality and quantity to highways to public transportation to recycling and waste disposal—frequently partnering with the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission and Northwest Arkansas National Airport. And during his time off? You can catch the Springdale dweller on one of NWA’s many bike paths.
TALENT ATTRACTION AND RETENTION
Justin’s focus is on the Council’s talent attraction and retention in regards to helping potential newcomers connect the dots when it comes to finding new opportunities right here in NWA. Justin has worn many hats over the years and is no stranger to NWA. Being a Bentonville native, Justin is excited for the constant growth and diversity happening in the community. Don’t be surprised if you turn on the TV and see Justin pop up in a commercial, TV show or even a film. Justin is an avid performer when it comes to film and theatre. Every now and then you might even catch him performing in a live show.
LEGAL & SPECIAL PROJECTS
Stacey works on Council member relations, but she also provides support to the Council’s health care transformation division and other initiatives. The cross-functional nature of her role lets her really take in the breadth of the organization’s impact and all the community members it touches.
Kamron is a native of Northwest Arkansas and is excited by all the growth that has happened in the region during her lifetime. She works in all aspects of the Council overseeing the day-to-day office duties, working with Council membership, monitoring certain financial records and preparing for meetings with members, partners and guests. Kamron’s favorite aspect of the Council’s work is its impact on the community.